Published: June 21st 2010June 19th 2010
Me and my new pet
Spanish Fort. Let the fun begin.
Friday, June 11. Pack the car and hit the road early. Head for the community of Spanish Fort which is across the bay from Mobile, and joined Capt Geoff Woodliff on his Airboat Express (dot com) for a one-hour trip to explore the Mobile-Tensaw Delta. Just before the 10 AM takeoff we get to meet and hold a baby alligator. Cute little rascal. Then four of us board the airboat along with our captain, don headphones, and cruise the river checking out flora like wild hibiscus and marsh grasses and fauna like gulls, ducks and egrets. But what I really get a kick out of is the jumping fish. Like in the song from Porgy and Bess. "Summertime. And the livin' is easy. Fish are jumpin'. And the cotton is high." I thought it was just a lyric, but those dang fish jump right out of the water. Often. Riding the airboat itself makes this a fun trip. Capt is friendly and informative. Highly recommend if you're in the neighborhood. Set my GPS and Capt Geoff points me in the direction of Hwy 98 just in case--boy do I get turned around--and I’m heading south.
stop at Daphne Civic Center, which gets my vote for most beautiful tiled public-bathroom ever, then I snap a few at City Hall and hit the road again, hugging scenic 98.
Gettin' all Ecological at Weeks Bay
Stop at Weeks Bay Reserve which features a boardwalk that sweeps around just over the marsh to the bay and back. A lovely walk. A few minutes from there lays Weeks Bay Pitcher Plant Bog with a rather circular boardwalk that leads out to the river and back to the road. That is an amazing trek; so glad I didn’t turn back. It is hot and--unlike the reserve walk--sunny. And I wonder if I can spot a pitcher plant mixed in with all the other flora. And there they are. Hundreds of them. Maybe thousands. Their little carnivorous insect-eating mouths open, you can almost hear them crying, "feed me." I just can't get over them. Well worth the stop off 98 on the way to Foley.
Pull over when I spot St. Margaret of Scotland Catholic Church in Foley to take a few pics. I am able to go inside and take a few photos--beautiful ceiling and stained glass windows--and meet some of
from the Mobile-Tensaw Delta
the parishioners and the priest. What a nice group of warm, welcoming people, mostly gathered for a wedding rehearsal. And the priest is funny and charming and witty. He denies giving very good sermons, but my guess is he is just being modest.
Destination Gulf Shores
Arrive at Gulf Shores about 6 pm and meet Jackie, roommate of couchsurfer Brittny who isn't home from work yet. Let me digress for a moment because if you don't know about CS you should. It's an online community of people all over the world who are willing to host other people in their homes and conversely to stay in others' homes. When I knew I wanted to go to the gulf, I went to http://www.couchsurfing.org/ typed in the country, state, city, etc, and a couple profiles popped up of people who were willing to host. Some hosts offer a separate room and bed, some a couch, some an inflatable in the corner of the living room. You find someone you like and write to them and request to stay with them on certain dates. They write back and tell you if they can accommodate. Anyway Brittny has generously made her home available and
has text me directions and warned Jackie that I'd be showing up. By the time Brittny gets home, I am showered and refreshed and the three of us go to dinner and then to a late movie. Next day I spend the morning talking to the gals, who are wonderful hosts, before heading out for the beach to check the oil situation before heading for Pensacola.
Not so White.
Saturday, June 12. I snap a couple pictures of the pure white Gulf Shores Sand which looks and feels like powder. It’s so bright that it sparkles. Except down by the shore where there’s a stretch of black tar balls about the size of dimes creating a polka-dot path over a two-foot swath down the beach thanks to the oil that’s pumping into the gulf. People are sunning themselves, but staying out of the water. Very sad situation.
When I arrive in Pensacola, my next host Steve is out in front of his two-story house watering his beautifully landscaped yard. The inventor of a sleep aide (mysnoringsolutions.com), Steve has a beautiful home with wonderful art work and a grown-up playroom to die for. Thirty minutes after I arrive we are swimming
in his backyard pool and then soaking in his hot tub. Later we go to dinner in an Irish pub which is decorated with a half million in dollar bills plastered over every wall. He's really a great guy. Since his daughter isn't home that night, I have the upstairs to myself.
There are more photos below